At an Interactive Exhibit, Colombians Reflect on Their Country’s Painful Past and New Possibilities for Its Future


On February 13, 2024, the interactive cultural exhibit “If There Is Truth, There Is Future” opened to the public at Bogotá’s Center for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation. As part of the Colombian Truth Commission’s post-closure cultural and educational outreach activities, the exhibit aims to inform Colombians of all generations about the commission’s findings and inspire them to take action to prevent a recurrence of conflict. 

Established under the 2016 Peace Agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Truth Commission sought to establish an official record of the country’s 60-year civil conflict. In 2021, the commission completed its four-year mandate, overcoming the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and delivering a 11-volume report that synthetizes the voices of over 28,000 individuals from  all the parties involved in the decades-long armed confrontation.  

The exhibit carries this work into its next phase, disseminating the commission’s conclusions, exposing the root causes of the conflict, and helping ensure that the country never again slides back into such violence. “We have designed an interactive experience for visitors over 13 years old to explore, reflect, and be called to action,” explains Alexandra Bernal, coordinator of the group of mediators who lead the guided visits.  

The exhibit features creative interactive installations, videos, audio recordings, and data visualizations. There is even an installation powered by artificial intelligence that answers almost any question about the Colombian conflict based on the commission’s final report.  

So far, public response has been overwhelmingly positive. “In just our first week, we received approximately 1,000 people. After a month, over 2,500 people have visited,” said Adriana Serrano, the exhibit’s coordinator “We get about 50 requests for guided visits a week, and we expect this number to continue growing.” According to Serrano, the exhibit has sparked genuine reflection among visitors of different ages and social backgrounds.  

With its success in Bogotá, the team behind the exhibit is now working on ways to replicate it around the country. “We are actively looking for funding in order to share this with local museums, houses of memory, and universities,” said Serrano. One idea is to design a “traveling exhibit” that can be shared electronically, downloaded, printed, and set up. The team in Bogotá would provide these local partners with the technology and guidance on how to do it. 

“If There Is Truth, There Is Future” will run through the end of 2024 at Bogotá’s Center for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation. Guided visits are available in Spanish, English and French. A regular program of activities, including group mediation, cultural and artistic happenings, commemorations, and academic encounters will also be offered to all members of the public.  

“We want to transform this throbbing wound into the possibility of a completely different country,” stressed Alexandra Bernal. “To do so, we must understand what has happened to us and why, which is what we show here.”  

PHOTO: The exhibit “If There Is Truth, There Is Future” will run through the end of 2024 at the Center for Memory, Peace, and Reconciliation in Bogotá. (Maria Margarita Rivera/ICTJ)